Co-op students earn college credit, work experience and wages all at the same time. Working under the supervision of college faculty and employers, eligible students earn college credit while working at jobs that are related to their college majors and career goals.
Students must meet the following criteria to be eligible to participate in the cooperative education program.
- The student’s job description must relate to the major they are pursuing.
- Students must be currently enrolled and actively pursuing a certificate or degree.
- Students must have completed a minimum of 12 credit hours at West Virginia University at Parkersburg.
- Students must have at least a 2.0 cumulative grade-point average.
- Students must consult their advisor in advance to determine how cooperative education fits into their curriculum.
- If currently employed, the student’s work supervisor must agree to participate in the program.
HOW TO APPLY
- Students must complete an Application for Cooperative Education.
- Students must submit an electronic job description to the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education
- Email your job description to ude.puvwnull@secivresreerac.
- Title your document: [Last Name, First Name] Co-op Job Description
- Subject line: [Last Name, First Name] Co-op Job Description
Within the first two weeks term, students will complete an online agreement and work with their employer and faculty supervisor to establish achievable written learning objectives.
The grade a student earns for a Co-op experience will be based on a number of criteria. Employers and faculty evaluate student performance in achieving the objectives agreed upon in the first two weeks of the term.
Employers complete a mid-term and final evaluation which will determine 50% of the student’s grade. The other 50% will be determined by the faculty coordinator based upon assigned course work.
The student will received a grade based on the standard A-B-C-D-F scale.
EARNING CREDITS WITH CO-OP
Students may apply for up to eight hours of academic credit through Cooperative Education for two-year programs. Baccalaureate degree students may apply a maximum of twelve credit hours in Co-op courses toward their degrees. However, not all programs of study have elective hours or substitution possibilities where Co-op credit can be applied.
Credit hours beyond the number allowed for a degree are called “additive,” meaning they will not count toward the number required for graduation. Additive credits will, however, document evaluated work experience for future employment purposes or for second degree credit purposes.
Credit is awarded on a variable basis, depending on the number of hours worked during any Co-op assignment. A general rule is that 80 hours worked during any one work period equates to one (1) credit hour. Thus, a three (3) credit hour Co-op course would require a minimum of 240 work hours.
USES OF CO-OP CREDITS
1) Besides being introduced to the world of work, students gain marketable experience. Graduates with Co-op experience who are seeking permanent employment have an advantage over other entry-level applicants.
2) Co-op credits can be used as general elective credits or as suitable substitution hours in many WVU Parkersburg programs.
3) Co-op credits can be used as substitutes for required courses or independent study courses in some WVU Parkersburg programs.
4) Co-op credits may be transferable to other colleges. (Students who wish to transfer Co-op credits should check with an advisor at their desired transfer college.)
5) Additive Co-op credits may be earned. These are credits which students may wish to accumulate beyond the number that can be applied to a degree. These credits appear on the student’s transcript, and attach credit to a job which certifies that the job is educationally sound. Additionally, many graduates return to school. Additive Co-op credits could apply toward a second degree.
6) Students from other colleges and universities may earn Co-op credit provided they are in good academic standing and have the required transient documentation.
7) Co-op hours are tuition hours. The cost of tuition hours is published in the college catalog.
Students should meet with their academic advisors prior to applying to the Cooperative Education program to determine how co-op will fit into their curriculum.
The academic quality of the Cooperative Education experience is maintained through pre-arranged learning objectives (a list of tasks to be performed by each student on the job), through regular conferences between each student and a faculty coordinator, and through an evaluation system.
A Co-op student’s grade is based largely upon successful completion of the learning objectives as judged by both the faculty coordinator and the job supervisor. Students are also required to complete assignments, keep a work activities log and time schedule for each credit placement, and to submit a final summary paper which relates back to the working objectives that were developed in the early part of the semester.
The student’s employer will provide feedback three times during the semester. The first will be the signing of the agreement to participate, next will be a mid-term of evaluation and third will be a final.
A Cooperative Education arrangement begins when a job is identified either by a position the student currently holds or is prepared to obtain. The position should relate to the major they are seeking. The student is required to complete an online application to get into the program. Upon completion of the application the student must submit an official electronic job description to the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education. Job descriptions should be emailed to ude.puvwnull@secivresreerac.
The job description is then reviewed by a division chair who determines the credit eligibility and level. Upon approval the student is sent the CRN to register for the class and the employer will be contacted to complete an online cooperative education agreement.
When the final grade has been reported, the Records Office enters the course title, credit, and grade on the student’s transcript. The student receives a final grade report at the end of the term.
During the Co-op period, students are employees of the company or agency for which they work. Students are subject to employers’ rules and regulations and will be advised by the employer of the policies governing working conditions, hours of work, holidays and any other matters concerning employment. Failure to meet an employer’s requirements may lead to a low evaluation, a failing grade and, in some cases, termination of employment.
Special attention should be given to attendance. Because an extended absence from a Co-op job may require re-scheduling, students must notify both the employer and the Co-op Office as soon as such an absence becomes a possibility.
When students are on the job, they must conform to the employer’s schedule. For example, students should not ask an employer for time off because the college has time off during a break.
In the case of being temporarily laid off or permanently discharged, students must notify the Co-op Office immediately. The same action is required if for any reason students feel they must resign from their Co-op job. Failure to notify the coordinator may result in either no credit or a failing grade.
Students are expected to practice ethical behavior during their placement. Unethical behavior can result in employment termination and a failing grade for the Co-op course.